Tonight, I watched Happy, a documentary made in 2011 that explores what truly makes human beings happy. It combines scientific studies as well as personal experiences of individuals all over the world. My friend recommended it to me after he saw it. He said it really made him think more about all of the stupid first world problems we have and complain about, and he realized how he had to curb some of that thinking (the biggest one being “I don’t have time to <fill in the blank with something you know is important but you are just too lazy to do>”).
Based on the research, the scientists found that 50% of “happiness” is out of our control and completely based on genetics (great, not sure how I fare there), while 10% of it is based on our circumstances – where we are, what we are doing with our lives, who our friends and lover are and how they treat us, etc. That leaves 40% completely up to us – the actions we choose to take, the mantras we live by, the thoughts we allow ourselves to have. Most people are surprised when they hear that only 10% of happiness is based on life circumstances; after some thought, I completely understand that because as people, we tend to adapt, some slower than others, to whatever new situation we are in, whether it’s braces, diabetes, a missing arm, or anything. The scary thing is that half our happiness is completely genetic, and that 40% that we are in control of has to work that much harder to what we are predisposed to (notice I say that as though everyone’s genetics are as screwed up as my family’s is).
I think my 40% probably needs to work harder that Chris’s does, and I’m sure lots of other people I know and do not know have their 40% working harder than mine has to. It’s very relative in terms of what you have been through in life. It feels in some ways that life is a constant battle to be happy and feel fulfilled, but I still believe it is worth it.